Contrasting fortunes for Argos and Homebase

The Irish units of home furnishing firms Argos and Homebase enjoyed contrasting fortunes last year.

Both firms are owned by UK retail giant Home Retail.

Accounts filed by Argos Distributors (Ireland) Ltd show it recorded a 21.5% rise in pre-tax profits from €7m to €8.5m in the 12 months to the end of March 1.

Revenues at Argos last year fell 4% from €220m to €211m during the period.

The increase in profits at Argos is in contrast to Homebase House and Garden Centre Ltd slipping back into the red to record pre-tax losses of €4.63m in the year to the end of March 1.

This followed a pre-tax profit in fiscal 2013 of €31.1m, driven by exceptional gains of €32.96m.

Homebase House and Garden Centre Ltd successfully emerged from examinership during the year under review. Arising from the examinership, Homebase booked a €33m gain from property leases repudiated or renegotiated and further capital invested in the firm in fiscal 2013.

The figures show that the €1.1m cost of the examinership process contributed to the loss last year. The firm also sustained an exceptional onerous lease provision of €264,000

Homebase reported a 1% fall in revenues last year from €46.3m to €45.38m. The total number of Homebase outlets in Ireland at the end of last year was 13.

According to the directors’ report, there was a focus on cost control and optimising staff development during fiscal 2014, while seeking to maintain operational standards, customer engagement and shelf stock availability.

The accounts show that the Homebase’s operating loss before exceptional items dealing from €1.85m to €1.78m. The firm’s operating costs decreased by 2%.

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